What we are reading this week:
• 1 Kings 18-22~ 2 Kings 1-2
• Job 26-32
• 1 Chronicles 17-23
Week 45. Feeling the end will help kill the winter blues!
Notes on 1 Kings
The amazing showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel is found here in chapter 18. The Obadiah we find here is not the same as the one who wrote the short prophetic book that bears the name.
After such an astounding victory, Elijah has no time to celebrate, but only to run. From his place of hiding, God speaks to him and he is engaged on his next mission. One of the things he will do is to anoint Jehu as king of Israel (19.16). Jehu will be a battering ram of destruction against idol worship in the northern kingdom, even though we will never see a general repentance take place there.
This account of the Kings, with its emphases on different individuals, runs ahead chronologically of the narrative we are reading in the Chronicles. It may be a little confusing. I’m hoping someday to put together a reading schedule that parallels the two accounts.
Elisha is raised up to follow Elijah. Even though Elijah will be the archetype of the prophet, Elisha will receive the “double portion” of the Spirit that he will later request.
In chapter 20, God orchestrates a mighty military victory for Ahab, the wicked king of the northern kingdom. Ahab foolishly accommodates Ben-Hadad, the king of the just-defeated Aram people, like an old friend. An unnamed prophet condemns him for this action.
The horrible story of Naboth and his vineyard is found in chapter 21. Here we see the real power behind the throne (Jezebel), and the wimpiness of the king. After this senseless murder, Elijah confronts Ahab. We see the king actually repenting (21.27-29). This buys Ahab a few years, and a reprieve from the destruction to come by way of God’s judgment.
One of my favorite Old Testament characters if Micaiah. We find a parallel (and nearly identical) account of chapter 23 in 2 Chronicles 18.
Here we see the godly but clueless Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, entangling himself with an ungodly ruler (Ahab) in such a way that almost costs him his life. However, God protects him in his foolishness.
You may hear and read many variations of the account given of Micaiah’s vision in 22.19-22.
Notes on 2 Kings
The reign of Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, didn’t last long. In his time of need, he reached out to the god of Ekron (1.2). Elijah said the not-so-pleasant from the Lord concerning this snub (1.4).
The prophet did not mess around. He called down fire on quite a number of people sent by the king to apprehend him. How absolutely horrible this would have been to witness—and the mess it left behind.
In chapter two, the prophetic office transition is made from Elijah to Elisha. Elijah is taken up to heaven amid (but not necessarily riding in or on) a chariot of fire with horses. The younger prophet receives the confirmation of his request for the double portion, and immediately goes to work.
Notes on Job
Through the middle of this book, there has been a circular dialogue going on. First Eliphaz, then Bildad and then Zophar lodge their accusations against Job. Job responds to each one. This pattern was repeated three times (except Zophar did not contribute to Round Three).
This week takes us to the very end of the discussion. In chapter 26, Job responds to Bildad’s last (but very short) rebuke. I once again overstepped into this chapter last week, but Job gives amazing scientific detail of the universe in this chapter.
Job then launches into his “closing statement” in chapter 27. The arguments of his “friends” have completely failed to change his mind: “I will never admit you are in the right; till I die I will not deny my integrity” (27.5).
In 29.12-17, Job completely contradicts the nasty accusations lodged against him by Eliphaz in 22.6-11. Being that these were his supposed friends, how could they have missed all of this?
This is a poetic book, and Job makes the most of metaphors. I like this one in 30.11: “Now that God has unstrung my bow…”
Job had been a very wealthy man, yet had remained godly. The Lord could trust him with riches. Job’s attitude toward wealth is found in 31.24-28. He got it right.
We find that a young man named Elihu has somehow entered into the small group at some point, and begins an amazing dialogue in chapter 32. He will call Job out in an entirely new way. Keep in mind that at the end, Job will need to repent for his three friends (they were way off in their assessments), Job himself will be rebuked by God, but Elihu will not be mentioned. His message to Job seems to be in complete congruence with God’s coming rebuke.
Notes on 1 Chronicles
David’s passion in chapter 17 now is to build a temple for the Lord. God tells David that though he appreciates the thought, it will be his son that will be commissioned to build. Personally, I think God loved David’s tent so much (because of the ongoing worship service) that he did not want it replaced until David was gone.
There is much to learn from Bible prayers, and David’s extensive prayer at the end of the chapter is worthy of study.
Many of David’s military conquests and victories are detailed in the next few chapters. Joab, his commander, shows his military prowess in 19.10-13. His heart is basically wicked, but he was great in battle situations.
The beginning of chapter 20 reads very similarly to 2 Samuel 11, but we read nothing here of Bathsheba, only of the military victory.
For whatever reason, David disobeys God and initiates a census of his troops in chapter 21. Here, even Joab knew that this was messed up (21.3). Once David realizes his grave error, he takes responsibility and initiates repentance.
David has been told that he would not be allowed to build the Temple, but that does not mean he can’t be part of the preparation. He does absolutely everything he can short of the actual building itself in collecting and arranging materials in chapter 22.
Job assignments and lists of Levites are given in chapter 23. Duties of the Levites are given in detail toward the end of the chapter, in congruence with the Law of Moses.